Take the Spare Tire Challenge

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spare tire for cars iowa

spare tire for cars iowaWhen Red Bull driver Mark Webber rolled into the pit stop during the Malaysian Grand Prix, his pit crew had one goal on their mind: Change the tires and get him back on the course as fast as possible. Armed with pneumatic impact wrenches, his pit crew surrounded the car in a flurry of activity. In 2.05 seconds he roared out of the pit stop and back into the race. And what was for all four tires on the car.

No one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point in time. Walk into any tire store, and you’ll probably see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured a tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. When that happens, your first order of business is to pull the car over to the side of the road to a safe location. After that, your best bet for getting back on the road the fastest is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break the 2.05-second record to even change one tire. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you end up with a flat tire, Take the Spare Tire Challenge to get ready for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a flattened tire. Here’s all you need to do:

1. Take a minute to locate the spare tire in your car. In many cars, it’s a small tire affectionately known as the “donut.” It might be under a layering of flooring in the trunk of your car or bolted to the bottom of your car on the outside. Some trucks and SUVs provide easier access to the spare tire with it mounted on the back.

2. Locate the jack and tire iron. Most cars have some kind of brackets, casing, fabric bag, or both to keep these items together. And they’re usually located near the spare tire. Remove these tools and retrieve the spare tire.

3. Practice changing your tire. There’s no better way to prepare for changing a flat tire than learning how to do it before it happens.

  • Make sure your car is in a flat location away from traffic and set the parking brake.
  • Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on one tire on your car.
  • Place the jack under the frame of your car, and jack it up until the tire clears the ground.
  • Remove the lug nuts and the tire.
  • Put your spare tire on and replace the lug nuts with your fingers.
  • Use the jack to lower the car back to the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Doing this ahead of time, forces you to get familiar with where your spare tire is located, along with the tools you need to change a flat. You might find out that the tools you need are missing, your spare is flat, or worse, you don’t even have a spare. But it’s better to find that out during a planned exercise than when you’re on the road. You can bet that the Red Bull pit crew practiced changing tires hundreds of times to get the process down to 2.05 seconds. Take the Spare Tire Challenge, and you’ll be well-prepared to deal with a flat when it happens. You can even use a timer to see how long it takes.

5 Reasons Your Check Engine Light is On

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check engine light is on des moines

Your Check Engine Light is On. Now what?

Murphy’s law – If anything can go wrong it probably will. So you’re on your way to an important job interview or sales call. You’ve just packed up the family car and left town on a road trip you’ve been planning for months. Or you’re just feeling a little stressed out and think the last thing you want is car trouble. Then a red light blinks on in your dash. It’s the Check Engine light, and you immediately envision worst-case scenarios like expensive car repairs or the ultimate demise of your car.

check engine light is on des moinesIf your Check Engine light comes on, chances are pretty good that your car isn’t going to stall out and leave you stranded right away. But it’s not something you want to ignore.

As soon as you’re able to, take your car to an auto parts store and ask them to run a diagnostic test on your vehicle. They’ll hook up a computer to your dash that can identify the reason your Check Engine light is on. In some cases, it’s a simple fix. You may also need the help of an experienced mechanic, but at least you’ll get an idea of what the problem is.

Here are the five most common reasons the Check Engine Light gets activated:

1. Defective Oxygen Sensor. Most cars have two to four oxygen sensors which essentially help regulate oxygen and fuel to help your car get the best gas mileage possible. When a sensor fails, gas mileage declines, and more emissions will be present in your car’s exhaust. It’s a relatively easy and low-cost repair to make. But if you ignore it for too long, a faulty oxygen sensor could damage your car’s catalytic converter, and that can be an expensive repair.

2. Check the Gas Cap. Most cars on the road today have engine sensors linked to your car’s fuel system. If your gas cap isn’t on properly or tightened down enough, or it has a crack, your car’s fuel efficiency will be off. If this is the source of your problem, you can fix it for free or less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. Check your gas cap and make sure it’s tightened down. And if your gas cap has a crack or faulty seal, buy a new gas cap at and auto parts store to replace the old one on your car. It’s one of the easiest fixes associated with the Check Engine Light.

3. The Catalytic Converter Needs to be Replaced. This isn’t the news you want to hear if you remember reading about this in connection with a defective oxygen sensor. It’s an expensive repair that can cost an estimated $2,000. If your catalytic converter is failing, eventually it will quit working completely and you’ll be calling a tow truck. Give us a call and we’ll get your car back up and running.

4. Mass Airflow Sensor is Failing. When your car’s mass airflow sensor begins to fail, your car can’t get the right amount of air and fuel mixture to power your engine. Your gas mileage will start to decline, and your car will stall more and more frequently. Like the oxygen sensors, it’s a relatively easy repair to do on your own if you’re willing. And most mechanics will install a new airflow sensor for under $300.

5. Spark Plugs Need More Spark. When the spark plugs in your engine start to fail, you’ll notice periodic jolts or fluctuations in your engine’s power when you’re driving. Sparks plugs are like a lot of car parts that just don’t last forever. Older cars may need the spark plugs replaced every 30,000 miles, while the spark plugs in newer cars should last 100,000 miles or more. If you have the time and patience, you can replace the sparks plugs on your car with a few basic tools. And it’s generally a low-cost repair if you bring it in to the shop.

If your Check Engine Light comes on, don’t panic. It’s your car’s warning system giving you an indicator to get your car checked out. But just don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment with Beckley Auto immediately to find out the issue and fix it as soon as possible!

Check Your Tire Pressure to Keep on Rolling

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tire pressure des moines iowa

Whether it’s the open road and summer vacation calling your name, the usual around-town trips, or business appointments that have you spending a lot of time on the road, your car is the key to getting you to your destination. Unless you’re really driving a vehicle in rough shape, most people expect to get in the car, turn on the key, and get to their destination without incident.

tire pressure des moines iowaBut how many times have you seen someone with a flat tire stranded on the side of the road trying to dig out their tire iron or wait for roadside assistance? Nearly 250,000 car accidents occur each year because of low tire pressure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And an estimated 75 percent of those accidents could have been prevented if the driver took the time have a slow leak repaired or inflate their tires properly.

While some aspects of vehicle maintenance should be handled by an experienced mechanic, checking your tire pressure is something everyone can do. This simple test can save you a lot of money, prolong the life of your tires, improve gas mileage, and ultimately save your life

What Should Your Tire Pressure Be?

To find out what your tire pressure should be:

  • Check the owner’s manual of your vehicle for recommended tire pressure.
  • Look for a tire pressure guide in the doorjamb of your car.
  • Or look closely at the sidewall of your tire for the recommended tire pressure.

Measure Your Tire Pressure

Once you know what the tire pressure should be for the tires on your vehicle, use a tire pressure gauge to see if your tires are inflated properly, underinflated, or overinflated. You can buy a tire gauge for just a few dollars, and most tire inflation kiosks include a build in tire gauge on the air hose. Here’s how to measure your tire pressure:

  • Unscrew the cover or cap on the valve stem on your tire.
  • Position the tire gauge over the valve stem, and press down for just a second. You’ll hear a short hissing sound as the tire gauge gets a reading of your tire pressure.
  • Check the results. The tire gauge will tell you what your tire pressure is in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch).

Increase/Decrease Tire Pressure

If your tire pressure meets the guidelines recommended for the tires on your vehicle you won’t need to increase or decrease tire pressure.

If it’s higher than it should be, use the tire gauge to press down on the valve stem and remove some air. Then check the tire pressure again until you’re tire pressure is where it should be.

If your tire pressure is lower than it should be, attach an air hose or pump to the valve stem and briefly add some air. Then use your tire gauge to check the tire pressure again, and do this until you’ve inflated your tires to the recommended PSI.

It only takes a few minutes. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help your car perform better when you get behind the wheel.

Don’t Leave Home Without a Roadside Assistance Plan

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roadside assistance plan

What Would You Do Without A Good Roadside Assistance Plan?

During the summer months when more people are traveling, there’s bound to be more breakdowns. And that’s especially true for people who want to see the sights off the beaten path. If your car hasn’t had the best service history or a regular tune-up, there’s a chance you might encounter an engine problem, electrical failure, broken water pump, or simply run out of gas. And there’s no doubt that locking your keys in the car, getting a flat tire, leaving your lights on and running down the battery, or experiencing a breakdown can spoil your day and your plans for some summer fun.

roadside assistance planSo if you’re in the middle of Des Moines or on some dusty road outside of town and you’re stuck, what do you do? If you’ve got some mechanical skills, you might be able make a minor repair and get back on the road. But even that might require a trip and back to a parts store. If you’re not packing any tools, or don’t have the mechanical skills, then what? It’s the kind of situation no one wants to find themselves in. And that’s why we encourage people to carry a basic roadside assistance plan.

You can get a roadside assistance plan through organizations like AAA, the National Motor Club, and AARP. And most insurance companies offer various roadside assistance plans as an option when you buy a car insurance policy. Most basic plans only cost about $50 a year, and it’s worth every penny. Roadside assistance plans can save you a lot of money and typically include services at no additional cost like:

  • Free towing up to 50 miles
  • Dead battery services
  • Tire change service
  • Lock-out assistance
  • Gasoline delivery

Some plans even include a reimbursement for food and lodging if you have a breakdown that interrupts your travel plans. And if you slide off into a ditch or down an embankment, some plans even cover the cost of extrication and winching. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

We’ve been taking cars for nearly 40 years. And you’d be amazed at the calls we field to send out a tow truck to get people out of trouble. Even if you only use your roadside assistance plan once every couple of years, it’s worth every penny. Just to send out a tow truck can cost $50 or more. And paying out of pocket for some of the other services covered by a roadside assistance plan can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you already have a roadside assistance plan, keep it. You never know when you might need it. And if you don’t, check out your options before you’re stranded and need roadside assistance.

Remember, Beckley’s can get your car ready for any trip. From tuneups and oil changes to complete engine repair, we’re here to help get you on the road.

 

Des Moines Auto Repair – Service to the Core

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Aaron Lukacs - Beckley Auto

Auto repair gets a bad rap. In Des Moines, there are in the hundreds of service shops you can go to, but which one can you trust? Which can you guarantee service and support after the sale?

Our service writer, Aaron, talks a bit about the job he provides at Beckley Auto. With his focus on the customer, honesty and drive, where else would you want to take your car to get serviced?

If you’re looking for a great auto repair shop with the staff and support that will exceed your expectations, bring it down to Beckley’s. Aaron and the others are ready to help you out.

To schedule an appointment online to have your car serviced, just click on the “Schedule Service” button to the right.

We look forward to seeing you!

European Car Owner Tips: Don’t Put Off Repairs

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mercedes heater repair des moines iowa

We’re all thinking it: someday this winter will end. And it has to be soon, right? So it’s not that big of a deal if we put off checking up on the heating system or the starter system til next fall when it gets cold again.

mercedes heater repair des moines iowaYou would be sorely mistaken if you thought you could put off these important checkups and repairs! Besides, it doesn’t look like it’ll be warming up anytime too soon.

Harsh Iowa winters (and I think we can all agree this one has been especially harsh) put a huge strain on your starter system and battery. It takes more gas and power to get it started in the extremely cold winters, and constantly starting it up without getting it checked or updated can lead to damage and battery failure; not something you want to be dealing with in negative temperatures.

Cold temperatures also put a strain on your heating system; if your car is heating up slower than usual, you may have a problem. The climate control system in your European car is more complex than other types of vehicles, and it’s important to have a certified European car technician work on it; they know what they’re doing and can save you time and money while avoiding expensive mistakes.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your brakes and anti-lock system are working, your oil is fresh and up to date, and your electrical system is up to speed. All of these factors are crucial in keeping a European car running smoothly and efficiently, and all of these services are provided by Beckley Imports.

If you would like to speak to one of our technicians, or schedule an appointment for your vehicle, we welcome you to give us a call at (515) 243-8185. We hope to hear from you soon!

AUDI Takes #1 in Auto Sales for First Two Months of 2014

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audi repair des moines iowa

In the first two months of 2014, Audi delivered more cars than BMW to take the global lead in luxury vehicle sales. Audi sold 242,400 vehicles through February 2014, over 350 more than the BMW brand, according to sales data from some German auto manufacturers. At this time last year, Audi trailed BMW by over 400 vehicles; BMW has been number one in the luxury segment for nine straight years.

audi repair des moines iowaVolkswagen has also gained sales, fueling an intensifying competition for the title of the world’s biggest maker of premium vehicles. Mercedes-Benz, currently number three in the world, has grown at a faster pace in recent months than its two larger rivals. All three are competing to to hold the number one luxury sales position at the end of this decade.

“Competition in the premium segment is more intense than ever,” says Audi’s Chief Executive Officer, Rupert Stadler. “We’re ahead of our two main rivals in the first two months, but this doesn’t really interest me much. Our focus is on further growth.”

This year, Audi will introduce 17 new or reworked models, including a remake of their iconic TT sports car. They have never before held the top luxury sales spot for an entire year, and are hoping to do so this year. These rollouts are also part of a plan to invest 22 billion euros ($30.5 billion) over the next five years to sustain growth.

February sales at Audi were boosted by a 32% gain in sales for the Q7 SUV and a 43% jump in sales for the A3 Compact. Volkswagon sold 9.3% more cars in the first two months of the year than previously, and BMW saw an 8.9% rise in sales.

Overall, it appears that the European Auto industry is shaping up for tough competition throughout 2014, a breath of fresh air from the stagnant sales and bleak outlook of years past.

At Beckley, we’re excited to see the resurgence of popularity in European vehicles. We hope that the community in Des Moines expands as more people become interested and passionate about European cars. If you’re considering purchasing a European automobile, or need service on the vehicle you’ve purchased, we hope you will call us to set up an appointment. Our knowledgeable team is here to help you make the best decision when it comes to your car. Give us a call at (515) 243-8185 to speak with a team member today!

Check Your “Check Engine”!

One of the biggest functions of your car to never avoid, the check engine light alerts you to the first signs of trouble with your engines functioning, and taking care of it early can be the difference between saving your car and having to drop a bunch of money on a new engine.

check engine lightIf your check engine light comes on, you need to stop driving immediately. It could be an overheating issue, or something as simple as a loose gas cap, but driving without knowing what exactly is wrong could extensively damage your car. European cars are powered by fuel injection, emission, and electronic systems manufactured by the Bosch company; this means that the best people to service your car are Bosch certified technicians. We are Central Iowa’s authorized service center for Bosch automotive systems, meaning that we know how to service these vehicles better than anyone else in the area.

We can run diagnostics on your car’s computers to see what’s going on; we charge $125 for the initial tests, which is sometimes enough to fix the car. If not, we won’t proceed until you have printed reports and have given us your permission to proceed. Expert services are the quickest and most cost efficient way to diagnose engine problems. We hope you never need our services, but if you do, we’d be glad to assist and get you back on the road.

Give us a call or schedule an appointment here! You can reach us at 515-243-8185.

The Proper Wheel Alignment for your European Car

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wheel alignment des moines iowa

European cars are extremely sensitive to proper wheel alignment; if it’s off, the tires wear off more quickly and adjustments are needed constantly. At Beckley, we stay up to date with latest alignment equipment and software to ensure perfect results for each and every car we service. Additionally, our experienced specialists are trained on specific makes of cars, so you’ll get the best service available.

At only $35 per car for a Wheel Alignment check, you’ll get excellent service and peace of mind at a great value. Call us today to schedule an appointment: (515) 243-8185.

The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Inspection

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pre-purchase inspection for bmw mercedes audi land rover des moines iowa

Purchasing a new car is an exciting event, and we want to keep it that way. By scheduling a pre-purchase inspection with Beckley, you can save yourself from inheriting someone else’s problems, not to mention potentially hundreds of dollars. Our specialists have years of experience with specific cars, so you know you’ll be getting the best service around. We’ll check your brakes, steering, tires, and more, and give you a clear, written explanation of results when it’s all said and done.

Don’t go into a big purchase like this uninformed; inspect before you buy. Call us today to schedule an appointment: (515) 243-8185.